Living in Boca Raton the past two years has been quite the learning experience for me, at least in the oh-my-god-I'm-back-in-high-school-department.
We excitedly joined a bee-yootiful synagogue after buying a small Boca abode. It has a wonderful children's program, a committed and seemingly sincere Rabbi, and it's teeming with Cardiologists in case you have a heart attack midservice. Everything you want in a Temple.
After The Pregnancy, which most of you know was the most terrifyingly sick I have ever been in my life, I decided to get really involved, because I could, you know, now lift my head off the bathroom floor. I had not previously had a very comfortable feeling from the temple, but I was quick to self-assign the blame; I mean how friendly could I have been the past nine months? But I just felt thwarted at every turn. I kept finding the administration so rude, unwarm, sometimes downright terrifying. Their New Yorkish Jewish accents held such contempt and irritation, and I sounded utterly Texan as I talked to them. And then I had an unacceptable conversation with a mother that I met. One who rapidly found a way to let me know that her husband is a surgeon, and oh, what does your husband do?
That question, when you ask it within four minutes of being introduced, just rattles me. I have enough of a problem being defined by what I do, but by what my husband does for a living? How is that me? How does that give you info on anything about me that just outright asking my zip code wouldn't do? (On which Jake has been grilled, by the way, in an oh-so-90210-way.)
"Uh, he's a pharm rep," I answered.
"Oh my God," she laughed, "How do you make it?"
How do I make it? My expression must have been quite remarkable, because she nervously explained herself, like she'd merely been joking. "I mean, it's so expensive here."
I don't need to tell you the rest, do I? That we are no longer members there, that I am trying out synagogues in neighboring "poor" cities: Delray Beach, Boynton Beach? That Jake will get some private Bar Mitzvah instruction in the meantime? And you're probably wondering how do I make it? Well, I get out of bed, make breakfast, slather daily sunscreen on my child, sometimes I worry about money a little, I get on with my day, and I shop sales and occasionally at consignment stores.
Oh, and as I fired back at the mother at the Temple: the food stamps help.